John Bowen

John Rhett Crosswell Bowen

A founding member of the firm, John R.C. Bowen is active in trial and appellate practice in the state and federal courts. He focuses primarily on trust and estate litigation, business litigation, admiralty and maritime matters, employment litigation and personal injury cases.

John’s family has been in South Carolina since the late 17th Century, primarily in Beaufort and Charleston Counties. He attended Christ School in Arden North Carolina, The University of the South, and the University of South Carolina earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Arts degree, and, in 1982, a law degree. He served his country as a U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972, and retired from the National Guard with 27 years of combined active and reserve service. He has served on numerous South Carolina Bar Committees including the Ethics Advisory Committee, and is currently the 14th Circuit Chair for the SC Bar’s

Resolution of Fee Disputes Board.

Throughout his long professional career, John has represented clients in matters including admiralty, maritime, and marine casualties including boating accidents and injuries, and cruise ship injuries for both passengers and crew. He has also handled products liability and personal injury lawsuits; civil rights violations, FLSA, EEOC, wrongful discharge and similar

employment matters; unfair trade practices and fraud suits; trust and estate litigation; and,

shareholder and partnership disputes. He was involved early on in air-bag litigation against Ford

Motor Company and other auto makers, which litigation contributed to that safety feature being

government mandated. He has represented ship and boat owners, brokers, crew, passengers, and

insurance carriers in all manner of maritime claims including cruise ship personal injury to

passengers and crew, vessel damage claims, crew wages, contract matters, salvage claims, charter

parties, watersports (parasailing, dolphin tours, jet ski, marina, etc.) liability, documentation,

brokerage, and vessel arrests. In recent years, he has handled some significant estate, trust, and

tort litigation arising from the injury, abuse or exploitation of elder clients.

He holds the highest professional rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and is listed in

the Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers in America for Admiralty and Maritime practice. He is

also a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Southeastern

Admiralty Law Institute.


• Admiralty and Maritime Litigation

• Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

• Probate and Trust Litigation

• Exploitation of the Elderly

• Employment /Civil Rights, Wrongful Discharge, Wages & Overtime

• Business and Commercial Litigation

• Mediation


• South Carolina

• U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina

• U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

• U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit


South Carolina Bar

• Chairman, Fee Dispute Committee for the 14th Judicial Circuit

• Ethics Advisory Committee, past member

• Lawyer Physician Relationship Committee, past member

Other Associations

• Maritime Law Association of the United States

• Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute

• Beaufort County Bar Association

• Hilton Head Island Bar Association

• South Carolina Council for Conflict Resolution


• AV Preeminent® rating, Martindale-Hubbell

• Selected for inclusion in the Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers, 1996-present


• Christ School, Arden, North Carolina

• The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee

• The University of South Carolina College of Arts and Letters (MA)

• The University of South Carolina School of Law (JD)

• United States Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma (OCS, FA Advanced


• United States Army Command and General Staff College


• Unanimity #418 Masonic Lodge, Hilton Head, Past Master

• Scottish Rite, Charleston

• Hilton Head Sertoma Club, Founding Member

• Bluffton Rotary Club, Charter Member

• St Michaels Church, Charleston, past Member

• The Church of The Cross, Bluffton, past Vestryman and Member

• All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head, Member

• Beaufort County PALS youth soccer coach and team sponsor since 1993

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John R. C. Bowen, Esquire –
Susan Vogel, Legal Assistant to John R. C. Bowen –